There’s a reason this game is being played in Washington. One has to wonder what attendance figures would be like at MetLife on the final home game of Derek Jeter’s storied career. As it is, viewership will probably suffer if history is any indication; the once Yankee Stadium-based Giants share a good portion of the Yankee fan base. It’s a shame as this game figures to be a good one.
First and foremost, this game will be dictated by its quarterbacks. Duh. But really, on one hand you have Eli slowly rounding back into form and on the other Kirk Cousins is out to prove he’s no Kevin Kolb. The former has shown signs of adapting to the Ben McAdoo offense over the past two weeks, going a 47/67 (65.7%) for 511 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions for a QB rating of 122.6. It also appears that at long last that first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. will make his debut. The explosive wide receiver has explosive return and yards-after-catch ability that would compliment Victor Cruz nicely. Kirk Cousins will have another week to gel with DeSean Jackson and new starter in tight end Niles Paul.
The Giants have yet to see their offseason pickups pay off on defense. Despite brining in players like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond, the pass defense ranks only 22nd and the defense as a whole surrenders over 25 points a game. That appears to be a mismatch going against the third-ranked passing attack and the fifth-ranked scoring offense. Their best defense? A good offense-a good rushing offense. Rashad Jennings has been sensational thus far, averaging 125 scrimmage yards a game, but he’ll be tested against a stingy Washington front, ranked third in the league against opposing ground games.
For Washington’s purposes, they’ll be eager to establish Alfred Morris to set up play action and open up downfield throws to DeSean Jackson. Kirk Cousins has shown little hesitance in testing opponents in his third year. Don’t expect him to dink and dunk against the Giants. On the other side of the line of scrimmage, Kerrigan and Orakpo will be licking their chops for the opportunity to get after Eli, especially to compensate for the loss of DeAngelo Hall in the secondary. They’ll have a tough task in facing a Giants offensive line that has given up just five sacks in three games.
Prediction: Washington 27 Giants 23-The Giants are improving, but Washington just has too many weapons to deal with. Kirk Cousins will out-duel Eli Manning and Washington will firmly plant themselves in the battle for the NFC East.